Here at Hive, a premiere home automation company in Tampa Bay, we charge based on the labor time and cost of the materials. As with any construction project, sometimes unexpected smart home's price problems that require more man hours and materials pop up during installation.
To combat unexpected costs and delays, we have a “no surprises” promise. While we can’t anticipate everything, we’ll make you aware of any events that could create additional costs or add extra time to your project beforehand.
Installing a smart home often requires construction to your home. Here are the two most common construction situations that could add to your project costs:
Say you’d like to place the projector in your home theater in a specific spot, but there isn’t an easily accessed electrical outlet. In this instance, you would need an outside electrician who’s licensed to work with high voltage to install additional outlets. Hive can refer you to a licensed and insured electrician to have this work done.
Installing wiring may require cutting into the drywall. Along with that comes replacing, retexturing, and repainting the space that was worked on. Hive doesn’t offer this as a part of our installation, leading to an extra cost. However, we’re happy to refer you to a licensed and insured repair company to do these repairs.
Sometimes areas that we need to run wiring through are inaccessible or impenetrable. Crawl spaces, attics, and closets, as well as rooms with concrete or plaster walls, are common examples. We can spot these areas as early as our initial walkthrough, but sometimes they can appear later in the installation process.
Wi-Fi enhancement and equipment integration can quickly lead to extra costs. While buying everything for the lowest price from several sellers might seem like the best choice, it often leads to more problems than it solves. Here are some things to be aware of.
Being able to use your smart home devices throughout your home requires strong wifi everywhere. You don’t want to find out that you can’t turn on the automated lights around your pool while you’re standing next to it. If we find that your wifi signal is weak in your home office, we’d need you to install a device to strengthen your wi-fi. Two devices we suggest are wireless access points (WAPs) or mesh wifi.
Making sure the equipment you supply integrates seamlessly into your smart home hub could add to your project costs. For example, if you want one of your older devices to connect to the system, we may need to use different wires than the ones we have on hand to make the older equipment fit.
Zigbee is a proprietary, two-way radio frequency protocol that connects devices, similar to wifi. And also like wifi, if the signal Zigbee creates is too weak, we may need to add additional antennae – an added cost.
Knowing the possible ways your project could be delayed is a huge step in preparing for your smart home. During your Swarm Meeting, we’ll work together to identify potential problems ahead of time so we can keep your project as close to the initial price as possible.
If you’re investing in speakers for your home, you don’t want to choose ones that leave you underwhelmed. You want the best, something that fits the environment perfectly.
Finding what sound system is right for your home depends on several factors. But you’re busy — you just want to know what to choose and why instead of agonizing over every detail.
We recommend two great options for your sound setup, no matter how you’d like to use your speakers: 2.0 speakers (also known as two-channel speakers) or surround sound speakers.
By the end of this blog, you’ll have all the information you need to pick the right sound system for your home, including:
Hive is the premier home automation company in Tampa Bay. We can provide and set up both 2.0 and surround sound speakers, but we're far from the only option available.
Ultimately, we want you to have the information to make the best decision for your needs, whether you choose to work with us or not.
Have you ever been listening to some music in your headphones and the audio on one side goes out? It's annoying to only have sound on one side, but it's equally bothersome to have a song's bass line or background vocals disappear too. Why is the sound split like that?
It’s because music is traditionally recorded in two channels, a left speaker and a right speaker. The audio engineer puts some parts of the song on one side or the other, depending on the effect they want to produce.
2.0 speakers reflect that; they’re two speakers, one left and one right, without an added subwoofer. In other words, they’re playing sound from two channels.
Watch the video below to see what a 2.0 setup might look like.
Surround sound speakers include more than one speaker plus a subwoofer, placed in different areas of a room. For this blog, we’ll focus on 5.1, 7.1, and 7.2 surround sound systems, as they’re the systems we see most frequently.
The first number refers to the number of speakers in the system, and the second refers to the number of subwoofers. So a 5.1 speaker system has five speakers and one subwoofer.
The formation of the speakers depends on the number of them. A 5.1 setup has three speakers in the front (one left, one right, and one center) and two in the back (one left, one right). A 7.1 set-up would add two more speakers to the left and right of the primary seating position. Add a second subwoofer to that and you have a 7.2 speaker set-up.
The speakers can be floor-standing, in-ceiling, or in-wall as well.
The video below shows how a surround sound system can be set up in your walls.
The speaker systems have more in common than you’d expect.
Both two-channel and surround sound speakers can be set up with any kind of speaker you’d like – any brand or price range can be in either configuration.
That also means that they can be invisible, in-wall, in-ceiling, or freestanding. However, this can affect your project’s cost. If you want to put the speakers in the wall, you’ll have to pay for the labor associated with installation.
Lastly, both systems can be hardwired or wireless. We recommend wired speakers because of their reliability. Also, wireless speakers aren’t necessarily completely wireless or more convenient – they still need a power supply.
To make their differences as clear as possible, we’ll compare them on the following criteria:
Like our example at the beginning, 2.0 speakers produce the kind of sound we’re used to when we use headphones. Depending on the quality of the speaker, you can get a clean, but more one-dimensional sound.
But just because the sound is only coming from two angles doesn’t mean it’s inferior. As we’ll get into when we talk about the ideal space for each kind of speaker, 2.0 speakers are just right depending on the situation.
If you’ve been to a movie in theaters, you’ve heard surround sound. Surround sound is just as its name describes. The sound comes from multiple angles, creating a more immersive experience.
Say you're watching a movie. The sound of a plane will travel from a speaker behind you to in front of you, as it would in real life. The more speakers in your system, the smoother the sound will transition from back to front. If you have additional subwoofers, the lower sound frequencies will be even more prominent.
It’s perfect for when you want to focus on what you’re hearing, whether it’s your favorite band or an action-packed movie.
We should note that either kind of speaker setup can be placed wherever you'd like, with construction and space requirements aside. But you can get the most out of each of them if you carefully consider where the speakers will go.
Two-channel speakers are better in areas where you might be listening to something passively, as it's not as immersive as surround sound speakers. For instance, you don't necessarily need bass and sound from every angle to enjoy your favorite podcast.
Some spaces where people typically put 2.0 speakers are their offices, lanais, or dining rooms. The living room is another common space, depending on what sound experience someone wants while they watch TV.
Surround sound is ideal for rooms where you want an engrossing experience. Home theaters are a natural fit, as are rooms where you might watch a lot of TV or movies.
The good thing about these two kinds of speakers is that you can use whichever ones you’d like. You could go to a big box store and buy speakers on clearance and set them up yourself. Or, you could buy high-end speakers and have them installed in your walls by professionals.
But the nature of the different kinds of speakers can, on average, affect the price. For the sake of this article, let’s say the equipment in both systems is at the same price point.
2.0 speakers are less expensive because there are just two speakers and no subwoofer.
A surround sound setup is more expensive because of the number of components involved.
It also requires a more powerful receiver or amplifier to drive it. Think of it like a cart with more objects on it needing more force to move it.
By now you probably have a good idea of what might work for you. But let’s break down the similarities and differences for easy reference:
As with many options in the sphere of home automation, deciding on a sound system depends on several factors.
But now that you know about both options, here are a few questions to help you nail down your decision:
If you’d like to learn more about how speakers can be a part of your life, check out this article on your potential options for outdoor speakers or this article on the average cost of having an audio-visual system installed in your home.
Are you based in the Tampa Bay area and interested in having speakers installed? Feel free to reach out to us to schedule a free consultation. We can answer any additional questions you might have about what speakers fit your needs.
You’ve had this Zoom call with a client scheduled for weeks. So of course, today is the day you have a spotty WiFi connection in your home office.
The call starts in five minutes, so you go into troubleshooting mode. You turn the WiFi off and on. You move around your house, trying to get a signal everywhere from the far end of your office to your master bedroom. Nothing’s working.
Finally, you get a signal, though it’s weak. You get through the Zoom call with your signal breaking up every few minutes. By the end, you’re so annoyed that you want to throw your whole router out the window.
Even if your situation isn’t as extreme, we’ve all gotten fed up with weak WiFi signals or dead zones in our homes. We get it.
Luckily, several options can help you have stable, strong WiFi across your entire home. Not all solutions are right for every situation, so we’ll break down two options that might be a good fit for you:
We specialize in home automation here at Hive, a field that’s highly dependent on networks like the two we’ll analyze today. Just as WAPs might be a better fit than mesh WiFi, you might find that another company is a better fit for you. Regardless, we’ll give you the information you need to find your ideal solution.
By the end of this article, you’ll know:
WAPs and mesh WiFi are both devices that provide stable WiFi throughout your home, but both of them operate in different ways.
Wireless access points are hardwired points that produce WiFi signal throughout your home. Think of it like an in-ground sprinkler system. Water flows through the underground pipes to the sprinkler heads, which spray water around different areas of a landscape. The ability to connect to the network flows through an ethernet cable to the WAPs, which produce WiFi.
Mesh WiFi has multiple nodes that talk to each other to provide WiFi throughout a space. Think of it like literal mesh – several separate points connect to cover an area with WiFi. A node handles the WiFi for its immediate surroundings. When you move from one room to another, your device connects to the next closest node of the mesh.
The biggest difference between the two is that wireless mesh networks are wireless nodes that communicate with each other, while WAPs are wired devices that produce WiFi.
Let’s analyze WAPs and mesh WiFi on the following criteria so we get a head-to-head comparison:
As we discussed above, WAPs are hardwired devices that produce WiFi in various parts of your home. Hardwiring usually requires getting behind drywall to place the wires. Some homes are even pre-wired to accommodate WAPs.
Because of this, most people need to hire outside help to install their WAPs, an added expense. And some areas can’t be wired easily, like spaces with concrete walls. However, if you’re confident with wiring and working with drywall, you can install it yourself.
Both options here can provide stable WiFi, but Wireless Access Points are one of the best ways to do so because they’re hardwired.
We talk about hardwired vs. wireless devices in another post. But the gist is that hardwired devices are more stable because the connection speed isn't weighed down by other devices being connected to it.
This makes WAPs great for situations where you have a lot of devices that need to be connected to a network. They aren’t immune to slow-down issues, though. If a WAP has too many devices connected to it, like in a bar or cafe, the connection speed will slow down.
WAPs can also give you strong coverage no matter where you are in your home if you place them strategically. A certified technician can look at your property and help you place your WAPs to get the best coverage possible.
They can also be easy to troubleshoot; a Wireless Access Point can be worked on remotely by a technician, so there's no need to pay someone to come fix it. And sometimes it's as easy as unplugging it and plugging it back in.
Depending on the size of the area and your network needs, WAPs can be between $80 and $1000.
As we said before, WAPs can be more expensive because of the labor involved in the installation. This includes work on the drywall, but might also include fees for a qualified technician to figure out the ideal areas for your WAP.
However, you can also DIY them for less if you feel you can handle the wiring and drywall work yourself. This, of course, is less expensive. You just need to pay for the devices and construction materials.
Installing mesh WiFi is easy. You can do it yourself without having to get behind your walls or run complicated wiring. Many can be set up using an app that walks you through the process.
They're great for spaces with limitations, like spaces where you're unable to tear down drywall or areas where a thick concrete wall or ductwork could make it difficult to install WAPs.
Mesh WiFi can be very stable and reliable if set up properly. There won’t be a gap in connection when moving from one room to another, and you don’t need to manually switch to an extended network as you sometimes would if you were using a WiFi extender.
Mesh networks are also “self-healing”. If one node goes out, the other nodes will figure out the most efficient way to get you a signal using the nodes that are still available.
However, a wireless mesh network has a few drawbacks. Because it's wireless, it might be slower than a hardwired WAP that has several devices connected to it. Think of it like a baton handoff in a relay race – the handoff slows you down to some degree, even if it's just a few milliseconds.
It's a good choice if you don't have many devices to connect to your network. For instance, if it's just you and your spouse and each of you has a laptop, a phone, and a tablet, a mesh might be more than enough.
But if you’re a family of five and have all of those aforementioned devices, plus security cameras, doorbells, and automated lighting in every room of a large house, a mesh might cause more problems than it would solve.
Also, if it’s not set up well, you can experience a gap or delay as you move from one room to another. However, due to their ease of use, it’s possible to avoid these problems with some research and care.
Wireless mesh networks are less expensive in that you don’t have to do any construction to install them. You don’t even need a professional to do it – you can do it yourself.
The cost of the devices varies, but typically they can cost from $110 up to $1500, making them affordable for several price ranges.
Both options can tackle your issue – eliminating WiFi dead zones and inconsistent coverage. But everyone’s situation is different, so one option might be better than the other. Here’s a quick summary:
Wireless access points are good if:
Mesh networks are a good fit if:
By now you probably have a good idea of what option works for your home. But if you don’t, consider the following:
Your router will thank you for not tossing it out the window. If you’re facing other technology issues, check out our article on our top ten technology frustrations and how to troubleshoot them. And once your WiFi connection is stable, learn how you can keep your network safe. Are you based in Tampa Bay and would like assistance in setting up a WiFi network in your home? Feel free to reach out to Hive today. We’re happy to help or answer any questions you might have.